Member’s Bill on Medical Cannabis

In Mid-October Helen Kelly admitted to have used cannabis to self-treat her cancer, NZ Herald reported MPs back calls for medicinal marijuana.

Union boss Helen Kelly’s call for better access to medicinal marijuana has been backed by MPs from both sides of the House.

Ms Kelly, who is terminally ill, has admitted to using cannabis oil for pain relief and wants Government to improve access to the drug.

It was also reported that Damien O’Connor was drafting a member’s bill in support of medical cannabis.

Labour’s West Coast MP Damien O’Connor is drafting a bill private member’s bill which would improve access to cannabidiol.

He started work on the bill after the death of a Nelson teenager Alex Renton, who had taken a hemp-derived treatment for repeated seizures.

Last week the Greymouth Star also reported on this:

MP to draft medicinal cannabis bill

West Coast-Tasman MP Damien O’Connor is drafting a private member’s bill to allow the medicinal use of cannabis.

You need a subscription to see the whole article but it was republished by the ODT:

O’Connor drafting medicinal cannabis Bill

West Coast-Tasman MP Damien O’Connor is drafting a private member’s bill to allow the medicinal use of cannabis.

He says high profile cases such as terminally ill trade union leader Helen Kelly, who is using cannabis oil for pain relief because it does not make her sick like morphine, have helped changed public attitudes.

He stressed he was not advocating the decriminalisation of cannabis.

Mr O’Connor said today he had believed in the benefits of medicinal cannabis since the 2000s, when he was on a select committee which backed its use.

He said Labour Party technical staff were now helping him draft a private member’s bill.

There has been suggestions that O’Connor may have fibbed about who he is consulting with.

Every drug had some side effects, and it was important they were minimal and not harmful. Cannabis would have to be prescribed by a GP, and GPs in turn would need to be comfortable with it. It would need to be of consistent quality.

“It’s really important no one pushes too hard, too fast,” he said, as that could derail the process.

“People like Helen Kelly and others exposing the careful use of it – people understand there’s value.”

The value of medicinal cannabis products is still up for debate as the growing number of products haven’t been comprehensively tested yet.

Drafting the private member’s bill would take some time. He was also talking to other political parties including Health Minister Jonathan Coleman.

I presume he will also talk to Peter Dunne, odd that he doesn’t mention him here. Dunne as Associate Health Minister has represented the Government on cannabis matters.

I hope O’Connor also actually consults with people in New Zealand that have useful knowledge on the use of medicinal cannabis.

As a Member’s Bill this will go in an occasional draw with 60-70 other bills, with 3 or 4 usually drawn at a time.  So the chances of progressing this through a Member’s Bill are low.

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  1. Geoffrey Monks

     /  2nd November 2015

    What a terrible traversty of the duty of care it is when medical doctors can feel so constrained by the imperitive to keep the profits rolling in to the big pharma coffers that they are so discomforted by the notion of approving access to an ancient herb, they refuse to do so.
    If hemp (and its multiple by-products) were a new discovery there might be some justification for present hesitation to embrace its medicinal value. But it is not: it is ancient. It fell out of common usage during the industrial revolution undr pressure from business interests, such as Henry Ford.
    Present day attempts to manufacture a synthetic (and therefore patentable) substitute have had outrageously bad consequences. That seems not to have deterred the legislators zeal to find an alternative to something that can be grown for pennies.

  2. “Good onya Helen Kelly & Damien O’Connor” 🙂

    Its good to see one of the ‘Major Parties’ actually discussing it seriously. Hopefully this will gain further momentum in the lead up to election 2017 (or hopefully sooner) & NZ finally dumps ‘Zero-tolerance’ in the bin.. as other OECD countries are already.

    Dunne & this Govt. are just being driven by the financial power of ‘Big Pharma’ (& alcohol & tobacco ?) in ANY of their minimal law reform ideas/agenda 😦

    SO.. if you really don’t want ‘more of the same’ (ad infinitum) then don’t rely on ‘Team Key’ to deliver anything else..

  3. It would be interesting to see O’Connor & Helen Kelly debate Dunne & Co. on a TV show.(Q+A or The Nation)
    I’m thinking, they would not agree with the each other on ‘Big Pharma’ extracts or synthetics only. Ms. Kelly said she is breaking the law.. to get Medicinal oil, made from ‘natural herb’. :/


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